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Thu Sep 29 17:14:58 SAST 2016

UN hopes Syria talks could resume in a 'few weeks'

AFP | 22 September, 2016 14:59
United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura speaks to press after attending the International Syria Support Group Meeting at the Palace Hotel in Manhattan, New York, US, September 20, 2016.
Image by: DARREN ORNITZ / REUTERS

The UN's deputy envoy for Syria said Thursday that he hoped peace talks could resume in the coming weeks, despite "grim" events on the ground.

Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy said his boss, UN envoy Staffan de Mistura, was in discussion with warring parties to organise "direct negotiations", a departure from past rounds where the sides met separately with moderators.

The UN is working "with a view to holding these talks hopefully in the next few weeks."

De Mistura's recent target dates to relaunch talks have all been missed, amid a failure to contain the fighting.

While the UN has said it would clearly be preferrable to host talks with a ceasefire in place, future negotiations should not have preconditions.

The latest truce agreed by the United States and Russia has collapsed, but Ramzy insisted both Washington and Moscow "are determined to make the agreement work."

Regardless of the setbacks, the UN "will never give up on the political process" to end Syria's five-year war, he added.

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